Ask the store about its return policy. Can a customer obtain a refund, a store credit, or exchange unwanted merchandise? How long is the period when returns are allowed?
Ask for a gift receipt and enclose it with the gift. Don’t remove electronics or similar products from their boxes before wrapping. The original packaging may be required for a return. In some cases, such as videos or music, the package must remain sealed.
Do not assume that regular return policies apply to sale or clearance items. Some merchants consider the sale of such items to be final, so ask before buying.
Ask about restocking fees. Some merchants charge a restocking or "open box" fee for returns of electronic products or large-ticket items. A restocking fee can be as high as 25 percent of the purchase price.
Look for a posted return policy when shopping online. If returns are permitted, ask what procedures and time frames need to be followed. Find out whether shipping fees are charged for returning items and whether shipping costs or restocking fees are deducted from the price of returned items.
Save your receipt. Keep items in their original packaging and leave tags on clothing. If you remove the price or black it out on the tag, try to leave the item number or bar code visible as it will make it easier for a store to process the return.
Time your returns to avoid hassles. Return lines can be lengthy the day after Christmas, but don’t wait too long to return items. Pick a time when the store is unlikely to be crowded, and be polite when talking to customer service clerks. If you are a regular customer or have a store credit account, mention that as you discuss return options. Merchants are usually willing to accommodate loyal customers.
- You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Be courteous to the staff. It will go a long way in making your return visit a pleasant one.